The Creation Project definitely dominated our 2016 and brought new opportunities for everyone in the family, including Elisabeth and Max, but there was plenty else going on with successful musicals at Narnia and other research milestones for Todd. All that good stuff and we’re still hoping for big things in 2017.
Well before we left for the States, Jana was working away with the kids at Narnia during after school English language musicals. At the end of the school year those efforts bore fruit as two of the musicals received top honors at a nationwide competition. It’s an encouragement for Jana to get good feedback from parents as they express their appreciation for her work, but it’s also nice to know that quality work is a part of her witness for the gospel.
Even though Jana left all that behind as we came to the States, she still had plenty to do. She bused Max to Chicago for his training three times a week, she helped both kids keep up (as much as possible) with their Slovak studies, and she was involved in various support team building activities. And then of course, she does a great job of making sure we are all healthy and taken care of. Still, having time away from her usual responsibilities allowed her to step away from some of life’s stressers. Just what the doctor ordered.
In 2017 Jana will be adjusting back to a normal routine, though for the spring semester she’ll be mostly filling in or working on a volunteer basis.
Todd’s Fantastic, Wonderful, Exciting, Very Good Year
This was a big year for me, too. In March I found out I’d been awarded the research fellowship with the Creation Project and that is what shaped a lot of the opportunities for the whole family. Another milestone in 2016 was signing a contract with Brill to publish my book in their Biblical Interpretation series and yet another was the opportunity to present two papers at theological conferences in November. If the only milestone in 2016 was that contract or the two papers, it would have been an over the top year. To have all those things in the same year was overwhelming.
The impact of 2016 will continue into 2017 as the 2016 milestones lead to the expansion of our ministry. I’m hoping those accomplishments will open new doors to teaching opportunities that go beyond the seminary and maybe even beyond Slovakia (keep reading). And of course, they are very important for maintaining the viability of the seminary (AKA accreditation).
The Creation Project and the book with Brill have set my agenda for 2017 and set us up for new milestones. To finish up my commitment to the Creation Project I need to publish two articles that I am currently finishing up. Completing those projects will be the big milestones of 2017. Please pray for wisdom and especially that they will prove helpful to the church and open new doors to minister to the church beyond the borders of Slovakia.
Along with the writing projects I’m also scheduled to do some teaching on “Reading and Living the Story of Scripture” at a local church in Trnava, Slovakia. This is a topic that comes right out of my dissertation and I hope it will help people understand how to live out the gospel in their lives and how to lead others in discipleship as well. In March I’ve been invited to lecture on the book of Genesis at an evangelical seminary in Copenhagen, Denmark. I was invited there by a good friend and fellow European scholar Jens Kofoed. Please pray for my preparations. These are key opportunities for me to learn to bring my technical work to application in the church. And that’s the whole point!
One More Thing
The year 2017 is shaping up to be a very important year for another reason as well. Three years ago we bought property just outside of Banská Bystrica and last year we started concrete plans for building. Building a little house (1100 square feet) may seem rather banal, but it has a huge impact on ministry. For one thing, we need to be wise as we plan out the financials so we don’t put undo stress on our family that could negatively impact ministry (not to mention the family). Also, in our current place, it’s really not possible to host overnight guests or even a small group. We’re looking forward to a house that can provide more space for our family and to open new doors to ministry.